Transcript from Jimmy Owens on Monk
Reflections hot, under
Jimmy Owens: I’m Jimmy Owens, trumpeter,
flugelhornist, composer, arranger, educator and jazz activist.
Describing Monk is difficult because he was such an original person when
it came to his piano playing, his compositions, and his whole human
demeanor. He did things that were out of the ordinary that most people
wouldn’t do, like his little Monk dance on the stage.
“Well You Needn’t” up and under
You really have to see some of the video that is there to see how he
functioned. Monk would move around, twirl, move his arms, elbows, go
around in circles.
“Well You Needn’t” up again, and under
Thelonious Monk's music, that is the most important thing. The person
who wrote that music that’s important, but what stands now are his
compositions. And what I tried to do with my "Monk Project" was to take
those compositions that many musicians had performed and give a little
different approach if possible to how we would perform those
To put the album together, the first thing I thought of, the types of
songs that Thelonious Monk had composed that I would like to perform, I
would like to record. And I made a list of songs for myself, oh about 20
songs. So a song like "Blue Monk", a song like "Well You Needn't,"
"Epistrophy," that's in our repertoire. And then I started to think of
the musicians who could interpret that music with the kind of excitement
that I wanted to have happen when I would record those songs. And I
honed it down to this sized group, which is piano, bass, and drums,
trumpet, myself, trombone, tenor saxophone, and I decided to use my
friend Howard Johnson playing tuba and baritone saxophone, so each of
the musicians were hand-picked for their skill level at performing and I
knew that they could turn out a stellar performance of this music. You
know, Duke Ellington has always said you can't write for the trumpet or
the trombone or the saxophone, you have to write for individuals.
I think first comes Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and then comes
Thelonious Monk and then all others come after him, you know. We have
Benny Golson and Horace Silver and Randy Weston, many of those people
are NEA Jazz Masters. Whenever jazz musicians perform they would perform
some of his Monk’s compositions, like they would do of Duke
Ellington’s, you know. So he was a very very important composer to most
Music Credit: Excerpt of "Reflections” and “Well You Needn’t” from
the cd, The Monk Project, composed by Thelonious Monk and performed by
Jimmy Owens and his band, used courtesy of Jimmy Owens and IPO
Recordings. Reflections used by permission of Thelonious Music Corp. and
Well You Needn’t used by permission of Sunflower Entertainment Group;
©1944 Regent Music Corp (BMI).